Billionaire denies Toon interest

American tycoon Philip Anschutz has denied he is interested in buying Newcastle.

American tycoon Philip Anschutz has denied he is interested in buying Newcastle.

Reports had suggested billionaire Anschutz, whose AEG company own London’s O2 Arena, was part of one or two US consortia involved in talks over lodging a bid for the club.

However, he has now moved to distance himself from the speculation, a day after compatriot Clark Hunt did the same.

A statement said: “Neither AEG nor anyone affiliated with the organisation are in negotiations or are contemplating the purchase of Newcastle United Football Club.”

Anschutz’s denial came as Keith Harris, chairman of investment bank Seymour Pierce, continued his efforts to find a buyer for the club.

Harris last week revealed he had been in touch with two serious contenders, and speculation later emerged the latest interest had come from America.

Since current owner Mike Ashley announced his decision to offload the club he bought for £134.4m last year, the Magpies have been linked with prospective purchasers from the Middle East, China, Nigeria and South Africa among others, although no formal bid has yet materialised.

Despite Harris’ insistence interest persists, he has also hinted the world-wide credit crunch is complicating matters.

Ashley is understood to be willing to sell at a figure of around £280-£300m, representing a significant profit on the price he paid and the £100m or so he has invested in the business since.

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